Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/26/2020
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve noticed that your hairline has started receding and you’re wondering if this is the first sign that you’re going bald. First off, don’t let yourself become stressed out. By noticing hair loss in its early stages, you’ve already taken the first step towards correcting the problem (long before the need for measures like hair transplants and laser therapy.
For many men, the receding hairline goes unnoticed in the early stages. They’ll tell themselves that those extra hairs at the bottom of the shower basin are from regular shedding, or that their growing widow’s peak has always been there. Fortunately, you were able to catch your receding hairline early, and that is the first step towards fighting hair loss.
A receding hairline is a very common type of hair loss that both men and women experience as they age, mostly due to genetics. Unlike overall thinning hair and bald spots, which may occur on the top of the head or the back of the head, a receding hairline is exactly what it sounds like, hair loss at the hairline. There are many different causes of a receding hairline, including family history, hormonal changes, intense stress and medical treatments, but luckily there are also many different hair loss treatments, such as lifestyle changes and OTC or prescription medications. Keep reading for tips on help slow or treat your receding hairline.
Just because there is no magical pill to prevent balding doesn’t mean that fighting hair loss is a losing battle – even if you’re genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness. Sometimes all you need to do to slow down that receding hairline is make a few adjustments in your daily routine, and here are some ways how.
1. Go easy on your scalp
Are you a habitual head rubber? Too much brushing your hair, hair styling and scratching your scalp can damage your hair follicles, which can contribute to a receding hairline. If an itchy scalp leaves you constantly scratching your head, you might want to explore different shampoo options – like something to prevent dandruff. Try looking for a shampoo with pyrithione zinc as the active ingredient, as it’s effective at treating dandruff and other skin-related conditions.
Also, certain tight hairstyles that pull your hair back, like ponytails, man buns, and cornrows, put unnecessary stress on your follicles over time which can also cause your hairline to recede (the condition is called traction alopecia). If you’re sporting one of these hairdos and you notice your forehead getting a little bigger over time, you may want to think about changing your hairstyle.
You can also try new styling products or even haircuts to help you feel confident about your hair, even if you are experiencing hair loss. Hair loss can impact your confidence, so it is important to style your hair in ways that work for you. No need to jump right to the buzz cut before making some changes or considering treatment options.
2. Spend some time doing something you enjoy
Do you find yourself stressed and worried all the time? If so, that could be a contributing factor to your receding hairline. Since stress is linked to a hair loss condition called telogen effluvium, experiencing frequent bouts of anxiety and worry may be causing your hairline to recede faster than it should. If you feel stressed and overwhelmed, spend a little time every day doing something that makes you happy. It could be going for a walk, exercising, or even reading a good book – whatever it takes to help you unwind. Not only will this make you feel happier and healthier, it could also slow down your hair loss. Talk about a win-win.
3. Eat healthier meals
If your diet is not giving you the vitamins and minerals you need, your hair is one of the first things affected. As soon as you start noticing that you’re shedding more hair than usual, take a look at your diet. Living off of fast food, frozen dinners, and processed foods may be one of the factors behind your receding hairline. The good news is that fixing your diet is relatively easy. All you need to do is add some more fruits and vegetables to each meal, or don’t skip on your daily multivitamin dose; if you do both, then you’ll be giving your hair everything that it needs to stay strong and healthy.
However, what you should not do is go overboard with the supplements. Studies have actually linked an over consumption of vitamins A and E to increased hair loss, so keep your vitamin dosage under 10,000 UI a day.
4. Make FDA-approved minoxidil and/or finasteride part of your daily routine
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a topical solution that’s applied directly to the scalp, usually twice a day, in order to treat hair loss. Unlike other remedies and holistic health tips, minoxidil is scientifically proven to stop hair loss in the majority of men who use it. Unlike lifestyle changes that may work for specific types of hair loss, minoxidil is able to treat androgenetic alopecia, hair loss caused by your genes. Not only does it help prevent further hair loss, minoxidil causes new hair growth in roughly 40% of the people who use it. However, minoxidil has one catch: if you don’t use it, you lose it. With that said, as long as you're happy with using it daily, minoxidil can be an effective way to stop a receding hairline.
The other pharmaceutical treatment option is finasteride (Propecia) – a pill designed to stop hair loss by disrupting dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone that causes male pattern baldness. Finasteride can help slow or even reverse hair loss, letting you keep (or get back) that “healthy hair look.” Finasteride is only available with a prescription, so you will need to meet with a qualified health professional (eg, a nurse practitioner, a dermatologist, a doctor, etc) to get this treatment. With telehealth, you can meet with a health professional from home to see if finasteride can work for your receding hairline.
The most important thing to remember when trying to prevent hair loss is that there’s no such thing as a magical cure. Pharmaceutical breakthroughs like minoxidil and finasteride – a pill designed to stop hair loss by disrupting the hormones that cause male pattern baldness – can help with your receding hairline, but they won’t magically stop you from losing your hair if you suddenly quit taking them. For this reason, it’s important that you approach hair loss medication with the intent of sticking to a long-term regimen in order to enjoy their overall benefits.
If you’ve had any experience with any of these preventative methods, feel free to leave us a comment telling us how they’ve helped you.
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